Storytellers impart insights


Dunedin primary school pupils have been receiving words of wisdom from two of the city’s best storytellers.

Author-illustrators Kathryn van Beek and Robyn Belton visited Brockville, Bradford, Carisbrook and Bathgate Park Schools last week as part of the City of Literature’s Little Landers Literature initiative.

During the session at Bathgate Park School, van Beek created a story using the pupils’ ideas, including characters, obstacles they had to overcome and a resolution.

The time it took to write a story could vary, van Beek said. It took her more than a year to write and illustrate her book Bruce Finds A Home, each picture taking a week to complete.

“Some books can take a lot longer,” she said.

Belton said it took her about 20 years to finally write her 2009 book Herbert the Brave Sea Dog, which was based on a true story.

“I thought about that story for a long time.

“But you don’t need to take 20 years to do a story.”

What’s the story? . . Author-illustrator Kathryn van Beek talks to Bathgate Park School pupils. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Belton, who illustrated the Greedy Cat books, drew a picture of Greedy Cat for pupils and gave them tips on how to make their drawings look lifelike, such as shading and drawing shadows.

She also read The Anzac Violin, another book she illustrated, to the pupils and talked about the images.

The sessions come after Highlanders players visited the schools to read books with pupils.

The final session/graduation will took place at schools on Thursday.